The Greens believe that a public health system is the best way to deliver access to a comprehensive, high quality health care system.

Governments are responsible for ensuring that all people have access to the resources and opportunities essential for good health. Health service provision should be equitable, socially just and responsive to changing needs. Individual health outcomes are influenced by biological, social, economic and environmental factors and these must be addressed as part of a comprehensive health care system.

Our healthcare system is critically ill. Our healthcare system has become increasingly privatised and money has been ripped out of hospitals and Medicare. As a consequence, health needs are not being met and people are not getting the care they need.

In South Australia, the cost of providing healthcare is rapidly increasing, and it will soon consume the entire state budget unless we start doing things differently.

At a time where obesity, diabetes and health conditions associated with ageing are increasing, we need to make sure people have good access to services that can keep them healthy longer, no matter where they live.

Disparities between service provision means rural, regional and remote communities don’t receive the same level of care as metropolitan communities. Living outside the big smoke shouldn’t mean you are treated like a second-class citizen. Prevention is better than cure – not to mention cheaper - and we must find ways to keep people healthier throughout their lives rather than just treating illnesses once people get sick.

Out of pocket costs are rising and Australians are increasingly unable to afford healthcare. In 2017, over 1.6 million Australians delayed seeing a doctor or getting a prescription filled because of the cost.

We need to focus on mental health at a personal and community level and ensure adequate funding is given to all aspects of mental health in Australia. Mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. There has been chronic under-investment in the mental health sector by successive governments, which has resulted in the system failing to meet the needs of thousands of Australians. The highest risk factor of future suicide attempts is a past suicide attempt. Support during a crisis period saves lives, and yet these crisis services are often fragmented and difficult to access.

Because three quarters of mental health issues begin before the age of 25, it is critical that we support the mental health of children and young people. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in preventing and managing the early onset of mental health issues in children and young people.

The Greens believe:

  1. Every South Australian is entitled to the best health care system possible, regardless of where they live or how much they earn.

  2. All public investment in healthcare should go directly to the public system, not to subsidising private health providers.

  3. South Australians shouldn’t feel like they need to have private health insurance to be able to access services or get top quality care.

  4. Our approach to health should be guided by the World Health Organisation definition of health as the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity and therefore seek a holistic approach to health that includes an emphasis on disease prevention, health promotion and social and environmental determinants of health.

  5. All people who experience mental illness should be able to live free from stigma, discrimination and exclusion, and maximise their social and employment opportunities.

  6. All people who experience mental illness should have access to high quality mental health care, treatment and support that is tailored to meet their specific needs. The vital role of carers should be acknowledged, respected and supported.

  7. Ongoing research and evaluation are crucial to reducing the incidence of mental health problems and improving outcomes for people experiencing and living with mental illness.

  8. The response to drug abuse is best addressed within a health and social framework. A harm minimisation approach is the most appropriate way to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use for the individual user and the community. The criminal response has failed to stop illicit drug use and causes more harm than good. People with substance dependence should have access to a range of well-funded treatment and recovery services.

  9. Funding models for health services should incorporate mechanisms to ensure that the capacity of health services develops in line with population growth generally and with population changes in localised areas.

  10. An effective health care system is dependent upon a skilled, competent and well-resourced workforce and must include properly assessed and regularly updated training and registration.

  11. People have a right to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care.

  12. People with severe and incurable disease have the right to choose to die with dignity.

The Greens will:

  1. Promote health improvement programs tailored to local needs, with a focus on disadvantaged communities.

  2. Ban junk food advertising on television during prime children viewing times.

  3. Improve air quality by strengthening laws around industrial pollution and car emissions.

  4. Develop a five-year plan for addressing mental health issues in South Australia.

  5. Investigate innovative ways to improve mental health, including looking at lifestyle work practices and social opportunities.

  6. Ensure rural, regional and remote health services are adequately funded to be able to provide quality health services, no matter where someone lives in the state.

  7. Ensure First Nations health programs have the necessary funding to close the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous people.

  8. Invest in organisations developed and controlled by First Nations people to improve the health outcomes of First Nations people.

  9. Improve programmes and facilities that promote physical activity for both children and adults.

  10. Ensure that the implications for health of all government policies are considered before being implemented.

  11. Support suburban and rural health clusters to effectively address the needs of their local communities.

  12. Ensure that abortion care in South Australia is free, safe, and legal.

  13. Legislate to ensure that free menstrual products are universally accessible in public buildings, institutions, and schools.

  14. Ensure that the LHN Governing Boards and SA Health more broadly have adequate representation from health professionals and health consumers in leadership and advocacy positions.

  15. Increase funding to SHINE SA to ensure the provision of high quality, accessible, and inclusive sexual health services. In particular, re-opening clinics in the outer northern and southern suburbs, increasing opening hours of all clinics, and expanding the funding for existing services such as GPs and mental health professionals.

  16. Advocate for high speed Internet to enable medical staff to access expertise from anywhere in the world.

  17. Provide, at minimum, equitable access to quality health care. Ensuring patients’ privacy and the confidentiality of their healthcare information, informing patients and obtaining their consent before employing a medical intervention, and providing a safe clinical environment.

  18. Increase nurse staffing-to-patient ratios and skills mixes that ensure patient safety, better health outcomes, high recruitment retention, continued professional development, and adequate training of staff.

  19. Promote a model of health care delivery that is based on sustainable Primary Health Care centres (as opposed to GP super clinics) that have a more affordable and accessible staff and skill mix that includes doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and health promotion officers.

  20. Authorise compassionate trials of cannabis and cannabis-related substances for the treatment of life-threatening diseases for which other drugs have proved to be ineffective, exhibited unacceptable side effects, or are too expensive, and for which there is some clinical or medical anecdotal evidence of likely effectiveness.

  21. Regulate and improve access to prescriptions for cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drug for medicinal purposes based on their therapeutic and palliative effects and seek to improve their affordability and accessibility.

  22. Improve emergency department and outpatient waiting flow by funding adequate staffing, equipment and bed availability.  

  23. Support the development of new programs to address the needs of patients with complex psycho-social needs who currently use emergency systems heavily as centres of last resort.

  24. Retain all current and future public hospital developments and land in public ownership.

  25. Oppose Public Private Partnerships in provision of public hospital services, and restoring public ownership where possible.

  26. Significantly increase funding for public mental-health services, including public hospital inpatient services, community-based outpatient and outreach services, and case managers, especially for patients with acute and pervasive mental-health conditions, including distinctive separate pathways for mental health patients to access emergency care where possible.

  27. Address the high rate of homelessness among mentally ill people by establishing supported government-endorsed accommodation for people with mental illness, including crisis, medium-term and long-term accommodation with rehabilitation programs.

  28. Increase support and respite services for carers/families that care for people with mental illness.

  29. Require public health impact assessments for all major industrial and infrastructure developments.

  30. Provide community education on the negative impacts of alcohol consumption on children and on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, emphasising that there is no safe level of consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

(Health Policy as amended by The Greens SA Policy and Campaigns Council April 2021)